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Jaguar is finally dropping the other shoe – and it's a snowshoe.
Three months ago, Jaguar began to discuss the impending arrival of important new models, offering car buyers a new all-wheel-drive system, completely different from the one last offered by Jaguar, in 2006. Rivals like Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz have long been offering the feature, putting Jaguar at a competitive disadvantage, particularly in snowy and rainy states in the northern half of the US.
Now, the 2013 Jaguar XJ and XF sedans, equipped with what the Jaguar North America unit of Jaguar Land Rover calls Instinctive All Wheel Drive, are nearing dealer showrooms. To promote their arrival, an advertising campaign got under way on Monday, including television and radio commercials, print and digital ads, events and a section of the Jaguar North America Web site.
The campaign, with a budget estimated at $20 million, is being created by Spark 44 in Los Angeles, an agency that is partly owned by Jaguar Land Rover, a division of Tata Motors. The ads use the recently introduced Jaguar brand ad theme, "Alive" - along with jaguar-like roaring sounds in the commercials - and make assertive statements like "All wheel drive. But still all Jaguar," and "Your playground just got a whole lot bigger."
The absence of an all-wheel-drive system has "kept us out of a chunk of the market," said David Pryor, brand vice president at Jaguar North America in Mahwah, N.J., so "we want to make a big splash" with the campaign.
The television commercials are replete with stormy weather. In one spot, a man walks through heavy snow and gets into a Jaguar buried in a drift, starts it up and drives away. "Power your escape with a car as alive as you are," an announcer declares.
At this time of the year, many car commercials feature snow, usually to suggest that consumers emulate Santa Claus and give cars as Christmas presents. Or the snow signals the start of year-end clearance sales at dealerships. "If we ran an ad with a Santa, I don't think we'd break through," Mr. Pryor said.
Bruce Dundore, North American creative director at Spark 44, said dryly, "To express the all-wheel-drive concept, it's always helpful to have snow."
The concept of the campaign that the all-wheel-drive system "lets you escape to where you want to go" whenever you want to is counterpoint to the conventional wisdom that "people kept Jaguars in their garages during the winter because they didn't have all wheel drive," Mr. Dundore said.
The campaign will make its debut during "Monday Night Football" on ESPN and continue to run on that channel as well as channels like BBC America, CNN, Food Network, ESPN and the NFL Network.
The radio commercials will appear on Sirius XM on channels devoted to sports, news, traffic and – of course – weather.
The print ads will be published in magazines like Fast Company, Motor Trend and Playboy. And the digital ads will run on Web sites like CNET, CBS Sports, The New York Times and Weather.com.